Chinese Cultural Society Lecture Series: “Legacies of the May Fourth Movement”

From Meiyi Cheng ’13:

Many of you have learned how amazing Professor Vera Schwarcz is at Wesleyan Thinks Big, yes, she’s giving another talk this week!

Chinese Cultural Society presents:
“Legacies of the May Fourth Movement”
by Vera Schwarcz
Professor of History, East Asian Studies
Wednesday April 17, 4:30 pm, Judd 116

The May Fourth Movement in China on May 4, 1919 was a monumental, anti-imperialist, cultural and political movement growing out of student demonstration in Beijing, protesting the government’s weak response to the Versailles Treaty, especially regarding the Shandong Problem. This was the first time in Chinese modern history when nationalist, anti-colonialist movements shifted towards the populist bases, who were inspired, directed by intellectual elites. The main participants were young students, advocating patriotic, modern ideals of “enlightenment”, “national salvation”, “liberty, democracy and science” while pushing to disengage themselves from bonds to authority. The May Fourth Movement opened an era of Chinese Renaissance with an intense focus on rationalism, science and experimentation. Western ideals such as liberalism and communism were introduced. The Chinese Communist Party was established. Yet certain radical cultural, political attitudes eroded many positive elements of Chinese traditional society.

The influence of the May Fourth Movement extended for generations. On June 4, 1989, young students radically protested against political authorities for democracy and the rule of law. This event, known as the Tiananmen Square Incident, was intimately connected to the May Fourth Movement yet failed to bring ideal reforms to the country.

In contrast, what did students do in the May Fourth Movement to actively find a direction towards that the people could refine the society? Where did the seeds of radicalism come from? And in the context of modern Chinese society, how do we understand the significance of the sudden emergence of public political space as was brought up by the May Fourth Movement? Indeed what can be done?

Come join us!

Date: Today, April 17th
Time: 4:30pm
Place: Judd 116
Cost: The cost of FREEDOM
Facebook Event: Link.

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